‘Bigmanism’ is not a strange term to those within power circles. When you are big, you are actually big. There is no cut-corner approach to it. Either you are big or you are not, it’s that simple.
What qualifies one as a big man in Nigeria? Well, being a big man doesn’t mean you have to be a politician. In fact, most big men are not one, they are just big in their own capacity and within their power circles. While some big men are state officials, governors, SANS, captains of industry, Professors etc some are simply big men by being friends with the aforementioned people. Yes, they call themselves ‘friend of the governor or friends of the president’.
However, there are common traits which are applicable to big men in Nigeria.
1. They have hordes of retinue; people working as their PA, bodyguards, kitchen staff, wardrobe assistant etc the list is inexhaustible.
2. They have vacation spots abroad; they go for holidays at designated countries where they have houses bought for such purpose
3. They go abroad for medical check-up at least once a year
4. They don’t respond to text messages or answer your phone calls if you are not in their power circle. They never bother to return your calls(yes, you should know they are busy).
5. Sometimes you have to wait for a whole day, a week or a month as the case may be in order to see them. Of course, you must have booked an appointment with their PA. That still doesn’t mean they are going to see you on the appointed day. Other important stuffs might come up, they could be busy, be in a meeting or just not in the mood to see anyone…even you. So, seeing them requires a lot of patience and hardwork(prayer perhaps).
6. They never apologise for keeping you waiting or not been available. They believe you should understand that they can’t be available at all times.
7. They resume work in their own time: they never get to work on time, they get to the office when they deem fit.
8. They are never on seat. They breeze in and out of the office. One minute you see them, the other minute they are on their way out.
9. Most big men in Nigeria maintain powerful friendships among themselves. They keep business and official contacts close.
10. When they party, they party hard. They will not give you their money, but would throw it lavishly at parties, they would use it to organise a fund raising dinner or give their kids hand in marriage.
However, some are big men yet very simple. But they occupy a very tiny percentage among the class of big men in Nigeria.